Meet Our Readers

She said yes! This Wednesday, Mary Fons, Rebecca Makkai, Veronica Vidal, and Rebecca Duxler bring us stories of Wedding Bells at Gallery Cabaret. No hole in the wall’s gonna ruin our special day (no really, that happened last week):

hole in the building

But onto the readers:

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is a fiction writer who does occasional live lit so that her inner high school theater geek never dies. She has two novels, The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and a story collection, Music for Wartime. The story collection was printed on special paper made from that one tree that fell in the woods when no one was there to hear it. She teaches at Northwestern University and StoryStudio Chicago, and she lives on the North Shore, where she enjoys alarming all the Republicans.

Veronica Vidal

Veronica VidalOriginally from the land of Happy Days, Harley Davidson, and THE BEST fish fry, Veronica Vidal was born and raised in Milwaukee but has called Chicago home for 19 years now. She has performed at Is This A Thing and a couple of open mics. In her free time, she is slowly trying to rid the world of acronyms.

 

 

 

Mary Fons

mary fonsMary Fons is a writer and designer who loves Chicago a lot, especially downtown Chicago, which is where she lives. She is a proud Chicago Neo-Futurist and is currently pursuing her Writing MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She teaches writing at the University of Chicago Writer’s Studio and if you want to take her “Stories Onstage: Writing To Perform” class (four weeks long) you should do it. Mary writes a blog called PaperGirl and it’s loads of fun.

Rebecca Duxler

Rebecca DuxlerYour Friendly Neighborhood Uber Driver by day, literary artist and athlete by night, Rebecca Duxler is always hungry for adventures. As a super nerd and a black belt, she is usually found taking people’s breath away on a Dance Dance Revolution Machine, in the kitchen cooking way too much food, giving people glove and orbit light shows, on the computer writing and making websites, on the fighting field, and on stage. She has performed at various open mic nites, literary shows, variety shows, and local “Got Talent” contests across Chicago and the surrounding area. She is the proud owner of several blogs, such as “Your Friendly Neighborhood Uber Driver”, a blog documenting the (mis)adventures of being a rideshare driver. Rebecca’s ultimate goal is to be able to make a difference in the world with healthspiration (health and inspiration), spread positivity, enjoy randomly spontaneous moments, and share her contagious laughs! Someday, she will be a game show winner, the “Got Talent” queen, and the next million dollar winner on Wheel of Fortune!

 

Rose Tinted Period

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This is the bag they want you to use to dispose of your lady period items even though the little silver tin box next to the toilet is already lined with that brown paper bag.

As you can see, it has flowers on it to remind you that the blood soaked items you are shoving in there are really like a bouquet of roses or at the very least, it’s nice wrapping paper for the stubby cotton vagina plug covered in your uterine lining.

I accidentally bought scented tampons a couple of months ago. I didn’t even know that was a thing so I wasn’t really making sure I grabbed the right ones. I mean the ones that glide in nicer and cost more because comfort always comes at a higher price and the ones who are for women who do “sports” and move more than non-sports women are much easier to distinguish.

I was enraged. And sure, I guess most people would chalk my reaction up to being hormonal, and on the rag and you know, acting like every woman does when it’s THAT TIME OF THE MONTH or whatever. But seriously, this notion that at every turn something and someone is telling me that the natural things happening to and from my body are disgusting and need to be disguised in fucking perfume is like, A PROBLEM.

I need to look like a flower and smell like a flower and then wrap my flower into flower printed and flower scented things. I need to shove a flower into my flower when flowers come out.

And no, maybe I don’t want or need an illustration of a bloody pad to be stickered on that silver tin box next to the toilet to notify of me where I’m supposed to be throwing my period items away, but It’s better than a floral barf bag.

I’m pissed that even having and sharing these thoughts will evoke some (man) response about geez, what is the big deal?

Maybe it’s that I’m sick of hiding things about my body, my woman body. I’m tired of everything being so shrouded in secrecy and myth and worse, tidied up into something palatable for who, men? I’m using the goddamn women’s bathroom, let’s get real here.

I get compact tampons and thin as a razor pads for convenience factors, but not for what I believe to be the overarching implication that I should never LET ON that I have my period even though it’s probably widely known, though not entirely accepted (?), that I may at some point be on my period when you come into contact with me.

Also, PMS is who I am. No really, hormones may beef up my anxiety or depression or anger or irritability, but at the end of the day, I am me and this is all of me and if you choose to not like me or ignore me or discount me for 20-25% of the month than you are rejecting ¼ of me and that’s not really going to fly.

I’m sorry I snapped and I’m sorry I overreacted and I’m sorry I grunted and rolled my eyes and sighed and yelled and cried. But I also can’t help it. So when I tell you I’m acting this way because of my period, it’s not an excuse, it’s that I’m trying to communicate that I’m having some difficulties and could really use your patience and sympathy and to still listen to my words even when they’re hard to hear through the tone of my voice and the look on my face.

But how can you empathize when what I’m going through is explained to the world as this temporary insanity that we mock and make fun of? And on top of that I’m miserable and unable to put on a happy face and have an Everything’s Fine attitude.

You’re taught to not express your feelings and I’m taught that I can cry, but only because I’m weak.

So yeah.

I’m tired. Very tired.

So, so tired of everything women go through only to be faced with scented tampons and floral disposal bags which are not so quietly reminding us to cover it all up in niceties because that’s easier for everyone else.

-Carly

Meet Our Readers

Hit the road tomorrow with Shay DeGrandis, Jenn Sodini, Roberta Miles, and Amy Eaton, who bring you tales of wrong turns and lost loves and mountain lions, oh my. Then there’s my story, which is mostly about not throwing up. There might be more to it. There’s definitely more to theirs. See you at 7.

Shay DeGrandis

shaygasShay DeGrandis is an artist, writer, well-meaning amateur therapist, accidental comedian, hospice volunteer, and soon-to-be funeral director. She produces and hosts the Chicago edition of Mortified, a comedy show of “personal redemption through public humiliation.” Helping performers bring to light their most awkward adolescent writing, she persuades them to excavate the hilariously embarrassing artifacts of their past and share their shame with strangers. She thinks it’s good to expose yourself. Learn more at getmortified.com.

Jenn Sodini

imageJenn Sodini grew up in Pittsburgh, went to school in Amherst, and then moved to Chicago and never looked back. She passionately hosts and co-produces CHIRP Radio’s The First Time, a live-music-and-storytelling series (quarterly at Martyrs’), and Psychotic Break, Chicago’s premiere mental-illness-themed variety show (first Wednesdays of every month at Schubas). She has been featured on The Moth Radio Hour with a story about running around with no pants on, which has surely helped her career as an analyst for a medical consulting firm. Jenn has also been featured on The Stoop, That’s All She Wrote, Blackout Diaries, Therapy Sessions, and Collector’s Edition, and is pleased to be a part of Miss Spoken. She’s finally moving out of her loft, so let Jenn know if you’re interested in purchasing a 7-foot-tall paper maché yeti.

Roberta Miles

934667_10151516665493773_1008715403_nRoberta Miles’ award-winning autobiographical monologues touch on growing up in Chicago in the 70’s and her life’s indiscretions and romantic regrets. Roberta chronicles her quest for mental and physical health with brutally hilarious candor. She has crafted her monologues into the one-woman show, I Want a Banana, and Other Desperate Love Stories, which she has performed at Strawdog Theatre and BoHo Theatre.

As the co-creator and producer of Loose Chicks and producer of Cafe Cabaret, Roberta continues to push the envelope with a wide range of memorable performances.

Amy Eaton


Amy Bio 2016Amy Eaton has performed original work with Tellin’ Tales Theatre and is a 2-1 Write Club winner (though she swears that 1 was really a tie).She has performed as an actor with Curious Theater Branch, Thunder Rd Ensemble, Mary-Arrchie and others. She served as Artistic Director for Evanston Children’s Theater and founded Mudlark Theater Company.
She lives with her two beautiful giant size teenagers who are being homeschooled, her incredibly patient husband and three jerky cats.
She comes from the Twilight Zone. But that’s another story.

Consent

On July 27th, 2016, our theme was Consent. Featured readers included Ada Cheng, Sarah Meltzer, and Caitlin Brecht.

-Rose

Crush

On June 29th, 2016, our theme was Crush. Featured readers included C.A. Aiken, Lauren Kapinski, Julie Marchiano, Amy Guth, Jess Merighi, and Jenny Peel.

-Rose

Birth Control

On May 25th, 2016, our theme was Birth Control. Featured readers included Christina Brandon, Lynette Roqueta, and Ju Lee Anna.

-Rose

Meet Our Readers

This Wednesday, the writers below tell us when someone said yes, no, or maybe, out loud or otherwise.  See you there.

Eileen Dougharty

photoWhen Eileen Dougharty isn’t handing out drinks, snacks, and snark to the flying public, she’s trolling Chicago in search of adventure. Eileen has performed with Story Sessions, You’re Being Ridiculous, and 2nd Story and she has contributed her writing to Reader’s Digest, WBEZ’s “Pleasuretown” podcast, and Consequence of Sound. She was also part of a recent TEDx talk about the power of storytelling and she’s thrilled to be part of Miss Spoken.

 

 

Ada Cheng

Ada ChengAda Cheng is a recovering academic and a professor turned storyteller, improviser, and stand up comedian. She has been enjoying her new adventures in theater and performance since quitting her job at the university. She is a one time The Moth story slam winner. She has performed at different venues all over Chicago. She is living her motto: Take your life and make it the best story in the world.

Sarah Meltzer

12670940_484163775101714_8510613120944992136_nSarah Meltzer lives in Chicago, where she is co-host of the Wit Rabbit reading series. She divides her time between writing small things, asking her cats about Jesus, and making secret plans to start an advice column about the organization of kitchen cabinets. One of these things is a lie.

 

 

 

Caitlin Brecht

Cate BrechtCate Brecht is one of those dreaded Florida people you are always hearing about in the news. She wants to tell you that everything you imagine to be true about Florida is in fact true and that is why she relocated herself to Chicago last year. She currently works in an office downtown helping to assist different boards of nursing across the United States. When she is not working, and partially when she is working, she is an avid consumer of podcasts, movies, books, and theatre. She ushers at theaters around Chicago in order to see as many plays as her calendar will allow. She is a co-host on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast called Babes Watch Buffy. She likes to write and would like to write a book even though she will confess that she doesn’t write as much as she should (thank you Netflix). She has had a poem of hers published In a Florida literary journal and she has seen two ten minute plays she wrote performed. This is her first spoken word event in Chicago and she is very excited and hopes to not throw-up. You can find her on all social media platforms at Catebrecht and you can find her Buffy podcast at Babes Watch Buffy on iTunes and Soundcloud.

First Time

Here’s a recording of our April 2016 show. The theme was First Time. Featured readers included Whitney LaMora Currier, Anne Elizabeth Moore, and Kaitlin Sullivan.

-Rose

Meet Our Readers

For tomorrow’s show, Jenny Peel, Jess Merighi, Julie Marchiano, C.A. Aiken, and Lauren Kapinski  make like Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Cease. That’s right, we’re telling stories about crushes. Late 90s hip-hop moves can neither be confirmed nor denied.

Lauren Kapinski

headshotLauren Kapinski is a writer, a Wisco woman, and a recent transplant to the City of Broad Shoulders. In her short time living here, she has bested a knight, was the first intern at the Paper Machete, and sold a self-published chapbook titled Beats Per Minute. Like Chicago, she doesn’t have an obvious nickname but has sometimes been called: The Kapin, Our Lady of Perpetual Anxiety, and Norman. She generally has no idea what she’s doing but relies on her Midwestern charm, Muppet-like facial expressions, and foolish tenacity to figure it out. You can follow this broad and these shoulders on Instagram and Twitter @honestbabel.

Jenny Peel

jenny_peel-alt2Jenny Peel is a native Chicagoan, currently residing in the wild north of Evanston. She works for an educational publisher as an image researcher, which allows her to brush up on her science and social studies. Over time, Jenny has acted in off-off- Loop theater, played in both Beatles and Led Zeppelin cover bands, and got as far as a green belt in karate. After a recent class at the Story Studio, she feels ready to share her writings with the world—or at least with a subset thereof.

 

Jess Merighi

13419134_880592772046195_3308695521761588494_nJess Merighi was born in Massachusetts and was raised on Bruins hockey until she moved to Chicago on a whim in 2013. She spends her time running the customer service department at a tech startup in the West Loop, going to shows, schooling punks about feminism, and getting injured while crafting. Her writing has appeared in Hello Giggles and Literally Darling, and most proudly, the Boston Bruins satire blog, Day’s of Y’Orr. You can find the bulk of her writing, and other random musings at JessKristaMerighi.com.

 

 

C.A. Aiken

headshotbwclC.A. works in making Chicago and all cities better—she hopes!—and moonlights as a poet and someone who writes.

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Marchiano

Julie-Marchiano1Julie Marchiano is delighted to be reading again at Miss Spoken! A Chicago-based actor, improviser, and writer, Julie has been featured on a number of live lit shows, including The Paper Machete, Story Club, Is This A Thing?, and That’s All She Wrote. She is currently performing in her first revue at The Second City, A Red Line Runs Through It. Follow her on Twitter @juliemarchiano, or do a deep dive on juliemarchiano.com.

 

We’re Saying Simple Sentences

Miss Spoken is two! Girls generally talk earlier, and we’re no exception. We’re not just girls now either, though lady live lit still has a catchy ring and I’m keeping it. We haven’t expanded so much as recognized that we always planned to include trans and non-binary performers, and hope to continue in that vein.

But yeah. Two years of themes and stories by non-dudes. When we had our first show, I don’t think we had a two-year plan for the series, or even a six-month plan. I thought I might move to LA. Carly thought she might be pregnant. One of those thoughts turned out to be true. I’m still here and so is Roan, who’d probably have better luck getting a script: seriously he’s really, really cute and Carly says he’s kind of an asshole, sounds like Hollywood material.

Two years ago, we sat in Garcia’s with our mutual friend Jasmine, who’d heard a similar idea from us: a show with a different theme every month. Girly topics. Maybe all girls. We talked and ate basket after basket of free chips, and by the end had agreed to do it. And so Miss Spoken was born, salty and boozy and feminine.

We’re still here, a ladylike (lol) presence among the multitude of other live lit shows. We feel what we felt then: having all non-dudes is not exclusionary, but expansive: people and stories often dismissed by society as unimportant, frivolous, or literally not real have a place where they’re given weight. We hear you, our audience hears you, you are funny and sad and real. In the current cultural climate, where women endure horrific harassment for talking about a fucking video game, the U.S. trails in maternity leave, and political groups threaten to take away rights enjoyed by your grandmother, your stories are more important than ever.

We also like to talk about boobs. We plan to continue that in the coming year, and hope you will join us.